Author: Nigel Brunsdon

Magdalena Harris

Magdalena Harris, Associate Professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, is a sociologist working with qualitative methods in the social science of drug use, health and harm reduction. She works in partnership with community organisations, and through peer research, in the fields of hepatitis C, opioid and crack use, and opioid substitution treatment service delivery.

She is PI for two NIHR-funded research projects: iHOST (Improving Hospital OST) and SIPP (Safe Inhalation Pipe Provision), both commencing in 2022. In 2020 she received the Society for Study of Addiction Impact Prize “in recognition of her high-quality, innovative research and its positive, practical impact for people who inject drugs”.

Magdalena holds an honorary Inclusion Health Consultant position at University College London Hospital NHS Trust and in 2022 was elected as a Member through Distinction of the Faculty of Public Health.


Transform works to educate the public and policymakers on effective drug policy. They develop and promote viable alternatives to prohibition, provide a voice for those directly affected by drug policy failures, and they support policymakers and practitioners in achieving positive change with the aim of having a world where drug policy promotes health, protects the vulnerable and puts safety first.

Three members of Transform will be delivering a workshop.

  • Jane Slater, has worked at Transform for over 15 years and founded and now leads the Anyone’s Child: Families for Safer Drug Control campaign
  • Dave Tebbet, Consultant and coordinator of Anyone’s Child in Yorkshire. He’s a regional Harm Reduction Lead, an addiction Professionals advanced practitioner, and a healthcare professional with the Loop
  • Suzanne Sharkey – Vice Chair of Law Enforcement Action Partnership and member of Anyone’s Child

Mackayla Forde

Mackayla Forde, aka RED MEDUSA is a UK-born poet and academic who is known for her unapologetic creative modes of expression and commitment to fighting health injustices. She has worked with literary and academic juggernauts Akala, Tolu Agbelusi, Anthony Anaxagorou, Kat François, Dr Jennifer Randal and Dr Eugene Richardson to name a few.

In 2020, Mackayla returned to London’s poetry scene following several years of study, where she completed her undergraduate and master’s degrees in public and global health. The poet-turned-academic became internationally recognised following the release of ‘Here to Stay’, a spoken word piece about coloniality in fashion, created alongside award-winning fashion designer Osman Yousefzada, which was featured in Vogue, Forbes and Grazia magazines.

She has since collaborated with the Noisettes’ former bass player and performer Shingai, Harm Reduction International, Queen Mary University of London, and other local and national organisations to bring much needed attention to important social and political issues. Mackayla’s passion for health justice continues to be centred in her creative work as demonstrated by her partnerships with the African and Caribbean Leukaemia Trust, SickleKan and NHS Blood & Transplant. Her commissioned piece ‘Bonded by Blood’ was part of a national campaign encouraging 40,000 people from ‘BAME’ communities to donate blood. Mackayla continues to storm the UK and international poetry scene, headlining the famous feminist ‘She Grrrowls’ festival, the Million Women Rise March, ‘Wordplay and Flow’, ‘Hummingword’ and other prominent spoken word events. She also delivers poetry workshops and talks at conferences, secondary schools and universities across London.

Having be awarded with highly competitive funding from the Economic Social Research Council, Mackayla is now studying for a doctorate at Queen Mary, University of London. Her research utilises poetry and decolonial research methods to explore and platform disadvantaged women’s health experiences during the first lockdown of the CoVid-19 pandemic in March 2020.

Danny Ahmed

Danny Ahmed is a registered mental health nurse prescriber and integrative psychotherapist. Danny has worked as a specialist in the substance use field for 22 years and is passionate about supporting people who use drugs to access health focused harm reduction advice, care and treatment.

Danny is a clinical partner at foundations and clinical director for Cranstoun.

Tracey Kemp

Tracey Kemp is the National Hepatitis C Strategic Lead at Change Grow Live. Tracey is a harm reductionist at heart, who has a passion and commitment to support people to change the direction of their lives, grow as individuals and to live life to its full potential by creating opportunities for better access to screening and linkage to care for Hepatitis C.

Peter Furlong

Peter Furlong is the National Harm Reduction lead for Change Grow Live and has been working in Drug services since the late 1990s. Starting as a volunteer in Merseyside, then working across a range of frontline roles including outreach, needle and syringe exchange, drug worker, services manager and North West regional development lead.

He was instrumental in pioneering the development of take-home naloxone in Sefton in 2010, one of the first services in the country to pilot its first provision as a core intervention also leading the introduction of nasal naloxone (nyxoid) for CGL services in 2019 which was independently evaluated by the University of Manchester (2020).

Lee Hertel

Lee Hertel is a harm reduction and HIV activist/advocate living in Minneapolis, in the US. If we want to be technical, he has been a drug-user for 42 years, and an IDU for 18 years. He founded and ran an unfunded syringe exchange, Lee’s Rig Hub. The Hub was a network of drug users, drug suppliers and dope houses acting as secondary exchangers and educators that delivered unlimited syringes and naloxone directly to their peers. In 2014 the Lee’s Rig Hub posse members reduced the overdose death rate in the state of Minnesota by 22 percent.

Lee has lived with HIV for far too long now – longer than he ever wanted to and far longer than he ever expected to. He laments harm reduction around the globe being overtaken by bureaucracies, and he is angered by the perversion of our lexicon and philosophies to the point where they are bandied about as if nothing more than corporate buzzwords.

He has lived the power of community and places all his chips on communities ending HIV and the War on Drug Users.

Karin Silenzi de Stagni

Karin is the founder and chair of Psycare UK

For over 30 years Karin has worked with art and music events. Born in Argentina, she has been an active part of the curation and manifestation of many unforgettable psychedelic parties around the world in the 90’s. From Goa to Buenos Aires, Tokyo to Cuzco, San Francisco, Bali and Punta del Este. Through that insider experience she recognised the need for honest and pragmatic drug information as well as the responsibility of the event organiser to help people in crisis at their events.

Inspired by volunteering for Kosmicare at Boom festival and with the support of MAPS, she formed Kosmicare UK as a community project in 2009, the first Psychedelic emergency services in the UK, which, a few years later, became PsyCareUK, Welfare & Harm Reduction Charity. Since then she has trained and coordinated hundreds of volunteers at UK festivals and abroad.

Board member of Newnet, Nightlife Empowerment & Well-being Network, an EU network of community-based NGOs acting in the fields of health promotion in nightlife environments.

Karin has worked as sitter and team leader at Boom Festival in Portugal, PsyFi in Holland and is the coordinator of Psycare at Modem in Croatia. She continues to help other events and organisations to create social awareness and safer party environments. Karin is one of the authors of The Manual of Psychedelic Support, she has given talks and workshops about Psycare work at Breaking Convention and through the Psychedelic Society. She has been the seminar leader on topics of psychedelic caring and dance magical power.

Her vision is a world where people understand and respect mental health and consciousness; where individuals have easy access to the information and support they require to navigate challenging drug-related psychological experiences; and where such experiences can be harnessed as opportunities for growth.

Colleen Daniels

Colleen is the Deputy Director and Public Health Lead at Harm Reduction International. She has 24 years of work experience in HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, gender, human rights, challenging operating environments, harm reduction, and community systems strengthening, working to deliver access to essential health services. She has worked in programs globally and has lived and worked in Australia, Kenya, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Thailand, the Kingdom of Tonga and the USA.

Colleen has worked in a variety of settings, including the Stop TB Partnership (UNOPS), World Health Organization (WHO), Treatment Action Group, Health Action International (HAI), and the Tongan and Australian Governments (Department of Immigration and AusAID).

Colleen developed the global strategy on tuberculosis and human rights and worked with tuberculosis and HIV civil society to increase their capacity to engage with the Global Fund, UN agencies, donors and governments. She also worked to catalyse global leadership to accelerate momentum toward universal access for high-quality tuberculosis and TB/HIV services; and to accelerate funding and progress in R&D for better tools to prevent, diagnose, and treat TB. While at WHO, Colleen was responsible for developing and implementing advocacy campaigns and communications strategies to accelerateTB/HIV service delivery in developing countries.

Colleen is a member of the Technical Review Panel for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria; and an Advisory Committee Member of the Racial Diversity in Global Health Project. Colleen has a BA in International Relations from Saint Mary’s University and a MA in International Studies from the University of Melbourne.

Haven Wheelock

Haven Wheelock has been advocating for the health and safety of people who use drugs since 2002. Currently she is the Drug Users Health Services Program Coordinator at Outside In in Portland Oregon. She provides direct service with people who use drugs and has also been involved in creating policy that improves the health in Oregon.

She completed a MPH as a Fellow at Johns Hopkins as part of the Bloomberg American Health Initiative focusing on Overdose and Addiction Policy.

Haven was a Chief Petitioner for ballot measure 110, which was a first in the nation initiative to decriminalise drugs in the state of Oregon.

She has been deemed the Grim Reaper of Portland by the local Proud Boys and has hosted the only Overdose Memorial that has been protested. She enjoys asking people about private behaviors and tricking people into being healthier.

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